Rafa Benitez is the type of man and the type of manager who looks forward to being challenged – and that’s one of the reasons he is still at Newcastle.
While most world-class managers would have left Newcastle following our relegation – not Rafa – who has this unshakable vision that he can take Newcastle United to the heights once again, as Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson have done before him over the last 25 years.
So even when he couldn’t save Newcastle from the drop he still agreed to stay on and hope in a year he will have a good enough squad to start challenging for a top six place in the Premier League.
Rafa Benitez – has vision for Newcastle United
That means we need to get promoted back to the Premier league at the very first attempt – and for once it seems that Mike Ashley and Lee Charnley are right behind the manager.
That’s a nice change.
37 year-old Jimmy Bullard, the former Wigan midfielder, knows what it’s like down below, having spent much of his career in the second tier of English football.
This what Jimmy told the Star about what Rafa faces in the coming season:
“I’ve got to say, I’ve been in the Championship probably more than the Premier League and it’s a tough, tough league.”
“What Benitez will find is it’s a grind, and it’s a lot of games as well, so he’s going to need a bigger squad than what he’s used to.”
“Newcastle are a huge club and they shouldn’t be going down into the Championship. Once you’re at that sort of level, there isn’t a good ‘Championship manager’.”
“It’s not hard to do a little bit homework – and know what sort of team you need to win the Championship.”
“I believe that he’ll draft people in to help with that. He’s a great manager and if I’m a Chairman of a football club, I want the best manager I can get.”
Rafa is used to playing many games a season, because his teams are usually in European competition so it’s not that he’s unfamiliar with playing two games a week and having a big squad too.
And you don’t get a reputation like Rafa has, without proving you are a very good manager.
Earlier this summer Rafa was already phoning Championship managers getting their take on what it takes to do well in the Championship.
It seems he is looking to add more experience to the fairly young Newcastle side, and the club have already released 27 year-old Gabby Obertan, 30 year-old Steven Taylor and 30 year-old Sylvain Marveaux.
It’s also almost a certainty the club will allow 34 year-old Fabricio Coloccini to leave this summer, and those four players were cumulatively on close to £8M/year.
This is a big challenge for Rafa Benitez next season and he aims to be successful.